At least nine miners were confirmed dead when a mining pit collapsed on them at Dogon Daji village of Maru Local Government Area, Zamfara State, Nigeria on Tuesday November 6.
Unfortunately, the dead are among the hordes who take advantage of the chaotic mining sector in the country to engage in illegal mining activities.
In a chat with reporters, one of the illegal miners, Shafiu Abdullahi, who escaped the disaster, estimated the worth of gold already mined at about N2.3 million worth of gold. (N157/$1)
According to him, the incident occurred around 5 am, local time, when the miners were digging at one of the mining sites at Dogon Daji village.
He narrated that the miners were about to observe their morning prayer when some people rushed to the mosque shouting for help.
“We rushed to the mining site and found out that the mining pit had collapsed and there were 10 people buried underground.”
According to him, it took the rescuers more than nine hours to bring out the bodies of the dead miners.
“When we brought them out around 2.00 p.m., nine of them were already dead, except one Mallam Hussaini Maikifi, who was rescued and rushed to the General hospital Maru,” Abdullahi said.
As of press time, it was gathered that the illegal miners had deserted the site.
Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the state police command, DSP Hassan Usman Talba who confirmed the incident, said that the law banning all forms of illegal mining was still in force and that any anyone caught would face the law.
“The only problem we are facing on the issue of illegal mining is that we cannot locate these illegal mining sites with ease because they are mostly situated in the forests, and let me tell you when I was a DPO in Anka Local Government Area, I was able arrest some of them,” he added.
In the past years, Zamfara has been in the news over illegal mining activities. In 2010, activities of illegal miners led to lead poisoning of scores of children with many of them dying.
The residual effect also resulted in other children losing their lives in 2011, thus leading to the intervention of international medical group Doctors without Borders.
Streamlining mining activities in the country is the only responsibility of the Ministry of Solids minerals Development but in the last 12 years, nothing much has been achieved in the sector.